Book Review – October 2013 – Sallie Eden

TheUncommonReaderThe Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett – Published by Faber & Faber in paperback 2008

In pursuit of her corgis, Her Majesty The Queen enters the City of Westminster mobile library parked at Buckingham Palace.

In doing so she starts down the path to reading, at first only occasionally, but with Norman as her guide, she works her way through Forster, Genet, Compton Burnett, Ackerley and beyond. Books soon become an enjoyable hobby and then, much to the dismay of her advisers, an obsession.

Soon it is not enough to ask of those she meets, “have you come far?” The long held order of things begins to shift as “The Uncommon Reader” discovers the delights of writing as well as reading.

Verdict: a recent classic by Alan Bennett, which gives it a head start in the writing quality and humour stakes. It also has a clever and witty plot and an ingenious ending. Recommended for when the nights draw in and you’re in need of “comfort reading” (fewer calories than crumpets) or as a gift for a hard to buy for relative (shop early for Christmas).*****

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